Is the K+12 model good for the Philippine educational system?
The enhanced K-12 program, or theDepartment of Education’s (DepEd) proposal to overhaul the basic and secondary education curriculum by adding two more years to the system is arguably one of the most drastic and controversial programs of the Aquino administration. The program is proposed to start in school year 2012-2013 for Grade 1 and first year high school students with the target of full implementation by SY 2018-2019. K-12 has been met with criticism from youth and student groups, teachers, parents and the academic community. The DepEd, for its part, appears determined to enact the program with its proposed budget catering mostly to preparing the grounds for its eventual implementation. The DepEd argues that the K-12 program will be the solution to yearly basic education woes and the deteriorating quality of education. Critics, however, counteract that the education crisis needs to be addressed more fundamentally and adding more school years would only exacerbate the situation. Dissecting K-12
The K-12 model is an educational system for basic and secondary education patterned after the United States,Canada, and some parts of Australia. The current basic education system is also an archetype of American schooling but with a 10-year cycle. DepEd reasons that it is high time to adopt a K-12 system, attributing the low achievement scores and poor quality of basic education to the present school setup. Following wide protests over the proposal, the departmentreleased its official position defending K-12. Below are the main arguments and corresponding counter-arguments from critics.
1. The K-12 will solve the annual growing number of out-of-school youth. Students and parents, however complain that it would be an added burden to poor families. While public education is free, a political youth groupestimates that a student would still need an average of P20,000 per school year to cover transportation, food, school supplies and other schooling expenses. Also, based on the latest Family Income and Expenditure Survey, families prioritize spending for food and other basic needs over their children’s school needs. Two more years for basic education would inevitably translate to higher dropout rate. 2. The K-12 will address low achievement scores and poor academic performance of elementary and high school students. DepEd says that the poor quality of basic education is reflected in the low achievement scores of students. Results of the TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study), however, negate the connection of the number of years to the performance of students. According to results of the TIMSS, the length of schooling does not necessarily mean better scores. In fact, some countries with the same or shorter school cycle garnered the highest scores while those implementing the K-12 model or more years of schooling got lower scores. According to a study released by former Deputy Education Minister Abraham I. Felipe and Fund for Assistance to Private Education (FAPE) Executive Director Carolina C. Porio, the DepEd’s arguments are “impressionistic and erroneous” because there is no clear correlation between the length of schooling and students’ performance. The said study shows that fourth graders from Australia had respectable TIMSS scores despite having only one year of pre-schooling, while Morocco (two years of pre-school), Norway (three years) and Armenia and Slovenia(both four years) had lower scores than Australia. South Korea, which has the same length of basic education cycle as the Philippines, was among the top performers in the TIMSS, while those with longer pre-schooling (Ghana, Morocco, Botswana and Saudi Arabia, three years) had lower test scores. Test scores of Filipino students, meanwhile, were lower than those garnered by all 13 countries with shorter elementary cycles, namely, Russia, Armenia, Latvia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia,...
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